It’s a challenge to run a canoe club. It’s not just jump into the canoe and go, there’s more to it than having the right stroke or holding the paddle the correct way.
It’s not just winning or having a great time. There’s more to it. There are forms to fill out, lanes to pull, and canoes to maintain. Clubs are like businesses.
There are officers and representatives that prepare paperwork and make sure everyone is eligible and registered. They also make sure there is a budget to repair and purchase new canoes.
The club is a hui, a group of individuals with a mission, which keeps the club going and paddlers paddling. Some clubs are small, some are big, some have been around for so long that fundraising is a well rehearsed operation. Some clubs, like ours, La Hui O Ko’olauloa located at Kahana Bay, are new to the whole process of raising money to keep our small fleet of wa’a maintained.
There are plenty of expenses to cover like the club’s canoes, trailers, paddles, rigging supplies, canvas, racing skirts, insurance and Association dues. Nothing is free except the knowledge that is passed down to us. We can put in our own free time, but materials still must be purchased. Sponsors would be one way to cover some of the club’s expenses, but sponsors are hard to find. Many clubs rely on fundraisers to raise capital, and there are many ways to raise money. Plenty of clubs host a race and hope to make money from entry fees. Some clubs hold car washes, sell raffle tickets for a canoe or vacation paid trip for two. Some host a party at a night club and sell tickets at the door. For a decade, Ocean’s Club catered to the paddling community with Paddler’s Night. Many clubs took advantage of this to host club fund raisers. They would collect a percentage of liquor sales and the $10 admission fee. There would be music and food, door prizes and lots of stuff to give away. The club sold tickets for a variety of donated items like paddles, hats, and round-trip neighbor Island tickets. Some clubs raised money by selling chocolates and some Portuguese sausage. This was our first year as a club and to raise capital we sold Kālua pig, one-pound for $10. Getting our shredded pork ready for pickup wasn’t as simple as buying heavily discounted, nicely packaged shredded pork at a store. We went through the whole process of making it, from harvesting a big ‘porker’, making an imu and cooking it in the ground until the meat fell off the bones. (Please excuse the graphic nature of this process if you love pigs.) Over three days and nights, members of the club came down to Brother Sage’s hale and got involved in the process. (see page 19 for details.) In that process we grew stronger as club. What makes a club grow? It’s not how many canoes you have, it’s not just what happens on the water that counts, it’s also what happens out of the canoe. Whenever the wa’a line up to race, it’s more than just the paddlers in the canoe, its the officials and an army of coaches, club presidents, managers, form pushers, boat holders and volunteers who set up tents and trailer canoes. There’s more than just six in the canoe when the yellow flag is waving, the red goes up and then the green. Imua.